Many high school students do not know what they want to be when they grow up. They are not sure what career path to follow. Or if they will even like the career they choose.
Learning about career opportunities and what options may be available can help them find a direction. That is what Cambridge High School Career Navigator, Lovel Quinn, does – she helps students find options and shows them what opportunities exist.
“If you want to go to college, I’ll help you get there; if you want to get your certification, I’ll help you get there; if you want to go straight to the workforce, I’ll help you get there.,” Quinn said.
“Lovel does a great job,” High School Principal Jason Bunting said. “She continues to reach out to all of our students and talk to them about all aspects of their future whether it be careers, college or military. She helps our students develop pathways to their futures so they know or have an idea of what they might like to do in the future.”
Quinn, working with school counselors Rod Gray and Trudy Tuttle, is making an effort to meet with every student.
She talks with seniors about their future plans when they meet with counselors to do their course audit ensuring they are on track for graduation. She visits with every senior, junior and sophomore in a classroom setting to talk about career options in general.
Quinn also continues to reach out to all students, including freshman, via the school email accounts and recently created a Career Navigator Twitter account (@CHSCareerNav) where she shares information about opportunities and recognizes students who have made decisions that positively impact their futures.
“I meet with all the students to make sure they are thinking about their options,” Quinn said. “There are excellent opportunities right here in Guernsey County where graduates can make a good wage and a good life for themselves.”
Those opportunities include jobs with limited training like a welder or State Trained Nursing Assistant (STNA). Training for those careers is available through a partnership with Belmont College where currently there are nine total Cambridge students enrolled in the STNA and welding certification programs.
Another opportunity is the pre-apprenticeship program at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union 495. Cambridge has one student participating in the program this year but will have five students in the program next year.
“Four of the 12 students selected for the new Plumbers and Pipefitters class are from Cambridge High School,” Quinn excitedly said,
There are also job shadowing opportunities with local businesses both small and large so students can get a taste of a career they might like to pursue or not pursue.
“We have students who come back from job shadowing and apologize because they didn’t like it,” Quinn said. She tells them there is no need to apologize because that is why they job shadow, to find out if they like a certain field before they decide to go into that career.
“I look at the kids' options like a big funnel,” Quinn said. “You start with all these options that you dump into the funnel so you can try them out. Then you continually narrow them down to the options you like.”
Some of the local businesses that welcome students to job shadow include Park National Bank, Zemba Brothers, Cambridge Place, Cambridge Packaging, Mosser Glass, Sunbelt, Bi Con, Quanex, Innovative Engineering Solutions and many more.
“I know I am missing many,” Quinn said. “We are so blessed in this community that our businesses want to partner with the schools. Many of them hire our students when they have graduated or are old enough, and for summer jobs too.”
A job shadowing opportunity that is currently available is with the Cambridge Police Department. They will take students interested in law enforcement, who are 18 years old, on a ride along.
Students also can learn about opportunities through the annual Career Day at the High School. The annual event was always organized locally by Tom Snyder and Bill Kafury in conjunction with the school. The local Job and Family services also provide resources. Due to COVID-19, there was no Career Day in 2020.
This spring, Career Day will be conducted virtually. Cambridge High School is partnering with Buckeye Trail and Meadowbrook for the event. Guernsey County Job and Family Services, BB2C (Building Bridges to Careers), and the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center are helping organize the event.
“We have a phenomenal career fair and due to following the protocols this year, we are actually expanding our Career Day,” Quinn said. “We have speakers who are willing to join us virtually from other states representing careers we might not hear about in Southeast Ohio. We are trying to embrace the current “Zoom” culture and still provide valuable career information to our students.”
If a student does want to attend college, Quinn can help them in that process too. She arranges campus visits, calls admissions and financial aid office personnel on behalf of a student and helps fill out required paperwork. Whatever the student needs help or guidance in, she is there to help them.
After finding out what type of career a student may be interested in pursuing, Quinn leaves no stone unturned trying to find the best opportunities for students.
“It excites the kids when they find something they are passionate about,” said Quinn. “There are so many local opportunities for our kids right now, they just have to take advantage of it.”
Quinn encourages students to take advantage of her help and welcomes calls or emails from parents as well.
“My door is always open. I’m here every day,” Quinn says from her office right off the main hallway in the school. “I wish more students would take advantage of the services I and the counselors can provide. We have a great student support team at CHS and I’m thankful to be a part of it. We try to wrap around our students in every way to help them succeed in high school and beyond.”